BSF Ignite Newspaper 2013

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Welcome to the official newspaper of the British Science Festival


  • igniteThe magazine of the British Science Festival

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    12 HOW TO BOOK




    To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University


    Faces you might recognise at the British Science FestivalIn a national survey in 2011, over half ofpeople questioned said that they foundout about science through the traditionalmedia like TV. Science programmepresenters can incite passion about theirsubject, take us to places we would nevergo and show us things we would neversee. Ground-breaking science becomespart of our lives through what we see onthe TV and grand concepts becomemore understandable.

    During the week of the Festival take theopportunity to find out how theseprogrammes are made, why the presentersfeel so passionately about sharing theirsubjects and maybe find out more aboutthe person behind the personality.

    Robert Winston has been bringingscience to life for almost 40 years. Fromhim we have learnt about such diverseareas as the secret lives of twins, to theeveryday lives of cavemen. He taughtus how we can improve our memoryand helped celebrate the lives of thegreatest scientists who have ever lived.The popular series Child of our Time hasspent 13 years following the progress ofchildren from all walks of life.Unbelievably he still manages to take

    part in ground breaking research, aswell as sitting in the House of Lords,trying to ensure that Government placesscience, technology and engineering atthe heart of policy making.

    Michael Mosley has spent 25 years producing and presenting documentaries on science and medicine.At his Festival event he will explore thejournalistic challenges he faces.

    Broadcaster Simon Mayo will introduceus to Itch from his book ITCH ROCKS withlive experiments from Andrea Sella.

    Maggie Aderin-Pocock is frequentlyseen on TV exploring the frontiers ofspace with programmes such as Do wereally need the moon? and Orbit: HowSatellites Rule Our World. At the Festivalshe explores what we do and dontknow about space and (star)gazes intothe future to find out whats next forspace exploration.

    A great way to experience the Festival is to visit the daily highlights show the x-change. Part chat-show, part cabaret,Richard Hollingham hosts this lunchtimeround-up of the biggest and best actsfrom the Festival programme.

    The British Science Festival is the longest established science festival in the UKtoday, dating way back to1831. So you see, we weregeeks long before it was cool!






    Over the years the Festival has played host to someextraordinary events. Did you know that it was at ourFestival that the wordscientist was first coined and the first time the worddinosaur was ever used?The Festival is just as relevant andexciting today as its ever been, andwe certainly aim to get you hands-onand brains-on with a huge mix oftalks, debates, workshops and drop-inactivities about everything under theSun (and the Sun too). You candebate the ethics of three parentbabies, take a tour of Newcastlesiconic Swing Bridge, delve into thedepths of how our top sea predatorsbehave and find out the types ofdiseases that killed our ancestors.

    This is the seventh time the Festivalhas visited Newcastle; the first timewas back in 1838. Make sure youdont miss our launch on Saturday 7September near the Monument. Weare joining up with the Eat! Festival tolet you sample a taste of the future.

    With hundreds of events to choosefrom theres certainly something foreveryone. To see the full programmeand book tickets log on towww.britishsciencefestival.orgor call

    08456 807207Hope to see you there!

    The British Science Festival team


  • The science buskers hit thestreets with their demonstrations

    Professor Ella Ritchie

    Shes easily spotted because of herbright red jacket, the pink toilet seatshe often wears round her neck andthe numerous other surprising propsshe and her team carry around.

    Claire is part of a band of NewcastleUniversity science students who havebeen trained in the art of streetperformance and use an armoury ofhousehold objects to bring sciencebusking to the streets of the region.

    Her work is all about engaging thepublic in science and technology -encouraging adults and children aliketo be inspired by science and toencourage the next generation ofworld-class scientists and engineers.

    The Street Scientists play a centralpart in Newcastle Universitys role as host for the 2013 British ScienceFestival. They will be entertaining the crowds at some of the hundredplus events led by the University and helping to draw in visitors to the Festival.

    Passing on the Eureka moment - when the penny drops and a young person realises they are seeing something theyve neverexperienced before - is the joint aimof the Street Scientists and the BritishScience Festival. For six days, fromSeptember 7 to 12, the Festival will be full of moments and memories like these, helping to inspire anappetite for science.

    Claire, who is 24 and a PhD student in chemical engineering, says her

    role as a Street Scientist has been a highlight of her experience atNewcastle University.

    I absolutely love being a StreetScientist. In fact, its probably beenmy most favourite experience of mycourse so far. I love the unknownelement of it - you just never knowhow a person is going to respond toyour demonstration, she said.

    Its given me so much confidence in dealing with the public and talkingto children about different scientificissues. Children are so much smarterthan I expected! Its really rewardingwhen they figure out a challenge and then want to know the science behind it.

    Because of my experience with the Street Scientists I know I willdefinitely pursue some kind of scienceoutreach work in the future - even if my career isnt solely focused on it I will make sure I help inspire moreyoung people to study science.

    Claire came to Newcastle fromEdinburgh to continue her studies,having been impressed by the citysscientific credentials as a UK ScienceCity and the quality of NewcastleUniversitys facilities.

    She added: The labs I work in are incredible. They are very wellfunded because of the quality of the research we do here so there are lots of resources and you knowyoure working with the bestequipment. When you couple thatwith the quality of the staff andstudent services it is a great place to study.

    Claires positive experience andattraction to Newcastle is testamentto Newcastle Universitys investment in science and the citys expertise inageing, sustainability and stem cells & regenerative medicine.

    Professor Ella Ritchie, Deputy ViceChancellor at Newcastle University, is looking forward to introducing thethousands of British Science Festivalattendees to what the city has to offer.

    She said: We are a research-intensiveUniversity with a civic agendafocusing on the global societalchallenges of ageing, sustainabilityand social renewal, and as hosts of the 2013 Festival we will have the perfect platform to bring our expertise to life.

    The events we are leading on will bring visitors face-to-face with our researchers to hear for themselvesabout their discoveries and how

    they have potential to positivelyimpact on our lives.

    These events include a debate ondiet and ageing with scientist andBBC presenter Michael Mosley who is credited with popularizing the 5:2 diet and our own Professor TomKirkwood, Dean for Ageing, as well as the Award Lectures given to early career researchers who areskilled communicators on climatechange and the environmental threat to coral reefs.

    Science engagement is very high onour agenda and we are pleased tobe working with our partners to throwthe spotlight on Newcastles scienceand technology strengths. The Festivalis so much more than just a six dayscience event - we expect to seelasting legacies in innovation, industryand investment.

    Claire is part of a band ofNewcastle Universityscience students who havebeen trained in the art ofstreet performance anduse an armoury ofhousehold objects to bringscience busking to thestreets of the region.

    Above: Newcastle University Street Scientist ClaireThompson with one of her demonstrations which usestwo telephone directories to show how static frictionmakes the interlocked pages impossible to pull apart

    BRINGING SCIENCE TO THE STREETSYou may well have come across students such as Claire Thompson if youve been shopping in Newcastle,browsing at the Sunday Quayside Market or visiting one of the many events and celebrations that are taking placearound the North East of England.


  • The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) was established in 2004 aspart of the North East England Strategy for Success. CPI was originallytasked to help companies in North East England to innovate within theprocess and manufacturing sectors and compete on a global scale. CPIhas gone on to become a national and international leader and is a keyplayer in the UK Governments High Value Manufacturing Catapult.


    The High Value Manufacturing Catapultconsists of seven partners:

    The Centre for Process InnovationThe Advanced ManufacturingResearch CentreThe Advanced Forming Research CentreThe Manufacturing Technology CentreThe Nuclear Advanced ManufacturingResearch Centre,The National Composites CentreWarwick Manufacturing Group

    CPI uses knowledge and expertise in scienceand engineering alongside a 55 million state-of-the-art facility to enable UKcompanies to develop, prove, prototype and scale-up new products and processes.

    CPI operates an open innovation modelwhere companies can develop products andprove processes with reduced risk. CPIprovides assets and expertise for SMEs and bigbusiness alike, to demonstrate manufacturingprocesses and prove they are feasible beforeinvesting large amounts of money inequipment and training.

    With sites in Teesside and County Durham, CPIhas helped to identify the region as a highvalue engineering hotspot and hasestablished National Centres in printableelectronics, industrial biotechnology andanaerobic digestion. These world-classtechnology centres have helped over 2,000companies to innovate and commercialisetheir products and processes.

    In 2010 CPI was highlighted as an exemplar ofa technology innovation centre and wasasked to contribute to a new nationalinnovation initiative that later became knownas Catapult Centres a network wherebusinesses, scientists and engineers worktogether on research and developmentprojects with the aim of converting ideas intonew products and services to generateeconomic growth.

    The High Value Manufacturing Catapultsnetwork consists of seven UK-basedtechnology and innovation centres. Theinception of the Catapult provides businesswith access to the best manufacturing talentand facilities in the country. It also provides a two-way communication channel withcentral government and a valuable conduit for funding from both the public and private sectors.

    CPI and the HVM Catapult bridge the gapbetween early innovation, where the UK hastraditionally been strong, and industrial-scalemanufacturing, where real wealth is createdand the UK is relatively uncompetitive.

    As CPI approaches its tenth anniversary, thetechnology and innovation centre is goingfrom strength to strength with over 200employees, 55 million of assets, three nationalcentres and more than 300 million ofcompleted projects.

    Building on this success, CPI will soon belaunching a fourth National Centre focusingon biopharmaceuticals.


    FROM INNOVATION TO COMMERCIALISATIONFind out how to take a research concept to market.

    Venue: Spence Watson Lecture Theatre, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University

    Booking Required


  • To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University 5

    In Beware - health care! on Saturday 7September at midday you can comealong and tell us what you think aboutwhether it is the duty of patients to lookafter their own safety when in hospital.With a tenth of patients being harmedby hospital care, can you or should youprotect yourself when in hospital, or isthat the responsibility of the NHS? Youcan hear the arguments from both sidesand make sure you have your say.

    On Sunday 8 September at 16.00 weput the Polygraph on trial when we ask whether lie detector evidenceshould be used in a court of law inEngland and Wales. Can they bebeat? You can see a polygraph demo and put it under scrutiny to learn about its reliability.

    On Monday 9 September at 15.30sociologist Tom Shakespeare will explorethe issue of involuntary sterilisation. In the first half of the twentieth century, sterilisation was used to stopundesirables reproducing. However,this practise still takes place today. In some places Roma, HIV+ and transpeople are still being sterilised withoutproper consent. Also on Monday at13.00 Tom Kirkwood and Aubrey deGrey go head to head in a debateabout life without ageing when theyargue whether modern science reallyconsigns the ageing process to history?Aubrey de Grey suggests that a cure

    for ageing is within reach, while TomKirkwood argues that such a goaldistorts what the real research prioritiesshould be in an ageing world. Later that day at 15.30 you can explore thenuclear disaster in Fukushima: Two yearson. The tsunami of March 2011 leftbehind it a trail of confusion andmisinformation. We now have thebenefit of hindsight to evaluate exactlywhat happened and bring to you thereal story of Fukushima.

    The recent decision the Britishgovernment has made in being the firstcountry to take a step toward allowingIVF techniques using the DNA from threepeople will be put under scrutiny onTuesday 10 September when a panel of experts examine the scientific,ethical, social and regulatorychallenges behind three parent babies.

    And on Wednesday 11 September at16.00 you can explore what theevidence tells us about the real effectsof child abuse on victims. As the countrycontinues to be rocked by the enormityof the Jimmy Savile scandal we explorehow some abuse victims suffer long-term changes to the brain. Are abusevictims more susceptible to PostTraumatic Stress? Are they easier tohypnotise? Is it a case of Broken trust,damaged minds? What do you think?

    The Science Festival will kick-off with an entire weekend dedicated toentertaining and educating enthusiasticFestival-goers. At Science Sunday, 8September, Northumbria University will be showcasing to the public ourcommitment to conducting meaningfulresearch in our science-related activities.You will be immersed in adventure,exploration and discovery and will beinspired in the wonderful world of science,technology, engineering, maths andsocial science.

    The programme will feature a mix ofinteractive exhibitions, demonstrations,workshops and sporting activities,showcasing science and the impact ithas on peoples lives.

    We will be hosting exciting interactiveexhibits that will totally change how yousee your everyday world. Discover, withKelloggs and the Food EducationCompany, if its true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,investigate how tsunamis are generatedby earthquakes and help forensicscientists solve a crime by collectingevidence from the scene.

    Did you know that 70% of known diseasegenes in humans are actually shared withflies? Take part in our interactive games to discover how genetics works in fliesand humans.

    Experience our most popular interactivedemonstrations to see what sort oftoothpaste an elephant might need, useour cutting-edge motion capture systemto see how you can make waves on the

    dance floor and to find out how barefootrunning can affect injury risk andperformance, and discover the evolutionof LED-based visible light communicationsand how it impacts on personal andmobile communications.

    Teddy bears are very familiar creatures,existing side by side with us for over onehundred years. Bring your teddy along toa teddy bears picnic to explore whattheir history can tell us about life on Earth,evolution and why teddies have evolvedto be more human than bear.

    Sport Central is the home of NewcastleEagles, the British Basketball Leaguesmost successful team of all time. Comeand experience the excitement at thisexhibition that combines athleticism andskills, explore the science behind the sportand see if you can beat them at theirown game.

    Northumbria University Sport Academyprovides young people aged 8-18 yearsthe chance to have fun through multi-sport activity. On the day visitors cancome and try a range of sports from theclimbing wall, dodge ball and ultimateFrisbee to parachute games, led byqualified student coaches.

    Lots of events will be free drop-in activitiesbut bookings may be necessary for somesessions. For a jam-packed free day outentertaining and educating the wholefamily come along to NorthumbriaUniversity, Sport Central on 8 Septemberbetween 10.00 - 16.00. For a full list ofScience Sunday activities


    By Sue Hordijenko

    At the British Science Association we believe that science needs to be accountable to the public. Much of the researchundertaken in the UK today is funded by the tax payer andresearchers have a duty to interact with the public. Come andfind out, directly from the researchers, how scientists, socialscientists and policy makers are working together to solvesocietys problems. We have never shied away from getting ourteeth into some very live and real issues at the Festival. This year is no exception.


    The British Science Festival is one of Europes largest celebrations of science, technology, engineering and maths. NorthumbriaUniversity is delighted to be an Associate Partner with NewcastleCity Council alongside this years host Newcastle University.

  • 6 To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University

    The 70m dual investment will annuallysave Northumbrian Water multi-millionsof pounds in gas electricity operatingcosts and significantly cut its carbonfootprint by 20%.

    The science uses a natural biologicalprocess. A new advanced anaerobicdigestion (AAD) process calledthermal hydrolysis has beendeveloped, which involves pre-treating the sludge remainingafter sewage treatment, heating itto165 degrees Celsius under six barsof pressure - a bit like putting it ingiant pressure cookers.

    This destroys any pathogens andbreaks down the cell structure, whichmakes it better to be fed to billions of bacteria in giant digester tanks -and easier for them to eat.

    The two plants reduce two millioncubic metres of sludge, resulting fromthe treatment of domestic sewageand biodegradable industrial effluentfrom a population equivalent of

    about four million, to about 150,000 cubic metres.

    The resulting methane released bythe bacteria is collected in 11-metrediameter biogas storage bags before being burned in a gas engineto produce nearly 10 megawatts of electricity.

    Some of this is used in the process,making it self-sufficient, but there isenough excess to meet most of thewhole sites total energy requirements.

    Waste heat and steam generatedfrom the process are also capturedand recycled for use elsewhere in the process.

    It also means less energy used fortransportation of sludge leading tosignificant carbon savings.

    And what remains of the sludgeafterwards is an excellent Class Abiosolid fertiliser for farmers.

    Northumbrian Water now has two siteswhich will cut the companys annual40m electricity bill by nearly 20% andbrings the company significantlycloser to having a fifth of its energyproduced from self-generatedrenewable sources by 2015.

    Innovation is still at the forefront of this leading green initiative.Northumbrian Water is currently

    looking at further re-use of anyremaining waste heat from the AAD process elsewhere on thetreatment works sites.

    Further cleaning of the biogas isbeing investigated so that it can be injected directly into the national gas grid, alternative fuels to supplement the sludge feed forthe process, including food waste,are under examination andcontinuous optimisation of theprocess to maximise operationalperformance is targeted.

    For more information on Twitter @NorthumbrianH2O

    Northumbrian Water is the award-winning national industry leaderfor generating green power from what comes naturally from all of us.Its the first waste water company in the UK to use all the sludgeremaining after sewage treatment to produce renewable electricity.Pioneering environmental plants have been built at Tees Port on therivers south bank and at Howdon at the mouth of the Tyne.

    FEATURED FESTIVAL EVENTTHURS 12 SEPT 09.30-12.30 AND 13.00-15.30

    GENERATING POWER FROM POO! (TOUR)Take a tour of the plant to discover the science behind the process.

    Booking Required


    Innovation is still at the forefront of this leading green initiative. Northumbrian Water iscurrently looking at further re-use of any remaining waste heat from the AAD processelsewhere on the treatment works sites.

  • 7AkzoNobels Marine and ProtectiveCoatings business unit is working hardto find new solutions to the problem,using scientific research to developnew products for the shipping industry.

    Which brings us to the aim ofAkzoNobels Chemistry, Coatings and Barnacles: The Solution to a SelfCleaning Bottom workshop, takingplace as part of this years BritishScience Festival: we want to showyoung aspiring scientists that there arelots of unusual real-life problems outthere that need to be solved, and thatthere are very rewarding careers indoing so. We also hope that thescientists of the future will see howqualifications can be put to practicaluse to address global futurechallenges, and to demonstrate thatthere is a huge range of problemswhich constantly need new solutions.

    To put it into context, removingbarnacles from the bottom of a boatcan be a bit like trying to removedried Weetabix from a cereal bowl - in fact, this dried cereal actuallyleaves a polysaccharide residue not

    dissimilar to barnacle glue. Althoughbarnacles might seem like a slightlyodd example of science in action, this workshop will actually involvesome quite complex chemistry, a littlebit of history and a lesson in how tocoat a ship in one single continuous,enormous molecule which canactually stop the barnacles sticking to the bottom of boats.

    Troublesome sea life will not be theonly focus of the workshops run byAkzoNobel this year. We will also berunning an interactive workshop on a subject that we are probably morewidely known for in the UK: colour. Asthe owners of Dulux, the worldsleading brand of premium qualitypaint, colour is hugely important to us and great emphasis is placed onresearch, training and services todevelop the highest quality colourperformance for our customers. Eachyear we announce a Colour of theYear which brings together a panel ofindependent colour and trendexperts, and also hold a regular series of colour seminars and

    workshops devised and presented by our internationally renowned colour experts.

    We will be bringing this expertise toBritish Science Festival, where there will be a chance for young scientists to join our interactive colour workshop,where our global colour experts will beexplaining colour, colour perceptionand colour vision. Young scientists willalso be able to experience colourperception by matching and mixingcolour. We hope they will leave with anew interest in and understanding ofthe importance of colour and the partit plays in everyday life.

    Finally, it is important for us toacknowledge the relevance of thelocation of this years British ScienceFestival. AkzoNobel is delighted thatthis event has come to the North East,home to our new manufacturingfacility in Ashington where building is

    currently underway. This factory willsustainably produce paint for saleacross the UK and Europe, ensuringthat our leading brands includingDulux, Cuprinol, Hammerite andPolycell continue to be manufactured in the UK.

    The region is also a key hub forAkzoNobels investment in innovation,with our largest global RD&I centre,which houses our Marine & ProtectiveCoatings and Powder Coatingbusinesses located in Felling on Tyneside.

    We are delighted to be involved in the British Science Festival 2013 thisSeptember, and hope that theNewcastle and fringe 2013 event are a huge success, and that ourworkshops are entertaining as well as stimulating to all who attend.

    Its probably fair to say that barnacles are not a common concernfor most people as they go about their daily lives. However for theglobal shipping industry, these little hitchhiking arthropods cancause a real headache for ship owners, increasing hydrodynamicdrag of the ship through the water, sending fuel cost and CO2emissions soaring. Known as biofouling, the effect of barnaclesattaching themselves to the bottoms of boats is estimated to costthe industry around $60bn per year and can slow ships down by10% of their normal speed, creating a very real problem for freightcompanies around the world.

    Each year we announce aColour of the Year whichbrings together a panel ofindependent colour and trendexperts, and also hold aregular series of colourseminars and workshopsdevised and presented by our internationally renownedcolour experts.



    CHEMISTRY, COATINGS AND BARNACLESCome and explore the chemistry ofsuper non-stick high performancecoating and drop in for feedingtime at the barnacle boat.

    Venue: Discovery Museum as partof the family weekend.

  • By Sue Hordijenko


    Each year the British Science Associationhonours five professional scientists orengineers, in the early stages of theircareer, with the opportunity to give an Award Lecture at the Festival. The key for a successful Award Lecture application is to beable to show outstanding skills in communicating with a non-specialist audience. The Award Lectures are named after illustrious scientists and engineers from times gone by,such as, possibly the most famous engineer that has everlived, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

    Equally as illustrious, are some of the names who have beenAward Lecturers in recent history - many of whom are takingpart in this years Festival. In 1995 chemist Andrea Sella wasawarded the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture for a presentation hegave on Atoms, electrons and light. You can see Andrea atthis years Festival on Saturday 7 September at 12.00 to hearall about Terra rara: the strange story of some politicalelements, he will also be joining broadcaster Simon Mayolater the same day at 14.30 for some chemical reactions.

    In 2003 sociologist Tom Shakespeare won the Joseph ListerAward posing the question Can science solve the disabilityproblem?. A decade later Tom is back highlighting the veryreal issues around Involuntary sterilisation: not just a thing ofthe past on Monday 9 September at 15.30.

    2008 saw space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock receive theIsambard Kingdom Brunel Award for her lecture on Climatechange: what space can teach us about planet Earth. Thisyear you can catch her on Saturday 7 September at 18.00talking about space exploration.

    In 2010 cosmologist Andrew Pontzen wondered What is colddark matter - and is it heating up? in his Lord Kelvin AwardLecture presentation. This year you get double the pleasure of spending time with Andrew when he appears on Saturday7 September at 14.00 in Lab notes: Songs of science and laterthe same day at 19.30 in Whats the point?

    So dont miss the future glittering stars of science in this yearsFestival Award Lectures. Meet roboticist Nick Holmes who willbe talking about Robots and humans: When two societiesmeet on Sunday 8 September at midday. OceanographerJonathan Houghton, will delve into Blue seas research:Predators and prey in an ever-changing system at 14.00 onTuesday 10 September. Meet marine biologist Michael Sweetin Coral reefs and the grim reaper on Monday 9 Septemberat 14.00. Catch climate researcher Hayley Fowler thefollowing day at 14.00 to hear all about Whats happening to our weather? Our final Award Lecture of the Festival onThursday 12 September at 14.00 will be presented by productdesign expert Bryce Dyer when hell be exploring Prosthesis,disability and the role of technology in elite sport.

    To book call 08456 807 207 or visit



  • We are proud to be celebrating theBritish Science Festival here in our homecity, contributing to the debate andlatest research updates to inspire thenext generation of scientists.

    What does Aesica do?We offer a broad range of services inpharmaceutical development - supportingthe manufacture of drugs that are beingtested in clinical trials; and commercialsupply: the manufacturing of the drugsyou see in pharmacies. This can beanything from creating the activepharmaceutical ingredient (API) - the partof the drug doing stuff in or on the body - to formulation development work -turning the active ingredient into a tabletor dosage for testing in a clinical trial tocommercial manufacturing (the endproduct the consumer receives). Aesica is also involved in essential activities thatmost consumers are not aware of such as determination of expiry dates andcompatibility of the API with excipients or packaging; Everything we do at everystage of the process requires extremelyhigh levels of quality control and qualityassurance to ensure patient safety.

    How are our medicines made?

    In order to make medicines we must find a biologically active substance (the API)and combine that with other inactiveingredients or excipients - that make upthe bulk of tablet or other dosage form. It is vital to ensure that the correct dosageof a drug has been formulated, and within

    the most suitable dosage form e.g. tablet,capsule, injection, inhaler. This might seemsimple at first but when producing a tabletwe must ensure that each time it is takenthe right amount of the active drug entersthe body, and just as crucially, at the rightspeed - this must be consistent acrosseveryone who takes it. Once a drug ismade we must make sure it is packagedand labelled with the required informationfor each individual marketplace incountries across the world.

    One of the key skills and considerationswhen developing a new drug is finding the right dosage form as this will affecthow the patient takes the drug. Both bigpharma companies and smaller biotechcompanies come to us with promisingdrug targets and then Aesica develops a manufacturing process to produce asuitable dosage form. Initially this is done in small batches and we then have toalter the manufacturing processes tomake it viable at increasingly large scales.Ultimately, once approved by theregulators, the drug will need to bemanufactured in larger quantities.

    Aesica Innovation Board-harnessing the power of science to make better medicines

    As a company which celebratesinnovation and supports the scientists of tomorrow we established the AesicaInnovation Board and my role as Directorof Technology Development brings me tothe forefront of this. The goal of the Boardis to help stimulate pharmaceutical

    innovation in a climate where developingoriginal technologies and formulations isan ongoing challenge. We identify andcommercialise modern and novelchemical and pharmaceuticaltechnologies that can add value. We lookat promising technologies in developmentat universities and other organisations,recently joining forces with DurhamUniversity, University of Leeds, University of Bradford and Emultech.

    One key area in which we have reallytaken the lead has been thedevelopment of technologies thatalleviate poorly absorbed (often poorlysoluble) drugs. This is where a drug showsvery positive results but manufacturers arefinding it hard to get this into a dosageform that can be delivered reliably to the patient. Many drugs in developmentaround the world are suffering from thischallenge so the technologies we aredeveloping really could be the differencebetween success and failure.

    Aesica has grown significantly over the last few years, especially in terms of international contracts, as weincreasingly establish ourselves as aleading player in the global market. Wehave locations throughout Europe andoperate around the world as a globalcontract manufacturing organisation.

    As a sign of where we started from, ourheadquarters remain in the North East ofEngland. We are committed to innovationand constantly on the lookout for anylocal scientists that want to get into theindustry. Its so rewarding knowing theinnovations we develop here have realworld benefits and help improvepeoples health around the globe.

    By Joanne Coleman

    Aesica Pharmaceuticals celebrates its 10th year in 2014 and weare proud to be one of the worlds leading contract developersand manufacturers of pharmaceuticals. We make many of themedicines you take daily right here in the North East.

    By Dr Barrie Rhodes, Director of Technology Development




    To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University 9

    Mama dont let your babies grow up to be cowboys let them benutritionists, engineers, climatologists,chemists, doctors, material scientists,astronomers, dentists, communicationsspecialists, archaeologists instead. I may be slightly paraphrasing WaylonJennings classic country and westernsong, but Im sure you get the drift.

    Science and engineering are crucial to the economic, social and environmental future of the UK, and the world. But top UK companies areconcerned that we may fall behindother countries when it comes tobeing at the forefront of cutting edgedevelopment. Like in the IndustrialRevolution the UK wants to lead theworld in solving key challenges theworld faces - providing energy, food and medical treatment to an ever-growing population.

    Most young children have an interestin the world around them - why is thesky blue? How does the TV work?What happens if I do THIS?! Events likethe British Science Festival aim to feedthis sense of wonder and excitement,with spectacular science shows andentertaining and educational hands-on activities throughout the weekend.

    Most of the people you will meet willbe practicing researchers, eager toshare what they do and why they doit. Positive role models can make acareer in science seem achievableand desirable. By bringing the kidsalong to the family weekend at theBritish Science Festival, you may justset them on the path to a rewarding career.

  • 10 To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University


    This is why GEs Oil and Gas group,including its pipeline inspection jointventure with Al Shaheen, PII PipelineSolutions, has been investing in localexpertise developed over severaldecades. We are an internationalcompany, specialising in engineeringdesign, manufacturing and the serviceof technologies that supply the oil andgas industry. We provide applications in many areas: from drilling and offshore operations, to transportation of hydrocarbons and refining, all the way to fuel dispensing pumps.

    We are continually pushing technological boundaries, using our global research capabilities andtechnology transfer. We are pioneeringadvanced manufacturing techniquesand developing the concept of the industrial internet - embedding smarttechnologies in our equipment to enable remote monitoring and control,something which sounded like sciencefiction just a few years ago. This is whywe are involved in the British ScienceFestival in Newcastle and we hope you will join us on the journey.

    With ongoing investment in innovationto maintain the highest public andenvironmental safety standards, werecruit and train local talent andcarefully choose locations based onmarket demand as well as the strengthsand opportunities in each area. This iswhy we are established and growing in the North East.

    Science is in everything that we do In order to improve the safety andefficiency of oil and gas pipelinesaround the world, we develop robotic inspection technology, usingphysics-based engineering design ofadvanced magnetic, mapping andgeometry sensor technologies. Byanalysing the data collected by thoserobots (also called intelligent pigs); we can determine the present andfuture condition of a steel pipeline.

    Our teams also work on research, designand development of subsea flexiblepipes conveying hydrocarbons from asea floor well head to the surface. They are exponentially lighter and more

    adaptable to harsh sea conditions thanrigid steel. Those systems can be used in depths of 3,000 m and in 15,000 psi of underwater pressure.

    Our designers simulate the mostextreme temperatures, pressures,physical stresses and corrosive elements from both the external marineenvironment and the internal oil andgas products. Once manufactured andshipped from Tyneside, our pipes will be installed either suspended in thewater and move with the ocean toconnect two structures, or restmotionless on the seabed in remote oil and gas exploration sites.

    Local talent delivers global pipeline solutions We get excited about maths,computers and physics - especiallywhen it comes to practicalapplications. We like creating things,being directly involved and seeing the results of our work, which takes both individual discipline and strong teamwork.

    With tremendous recruitment andtraining programs, GE attracts newgraduates as well as experiencedprofessionals from other technology-based industries. Our apprenticeshipprograms have evolved over 10 yearsand cover Operations, Finance,Engineering, Information Managementand Purchasing.

    We thrive on new perspectives fromdiverse backgrounds. Some of us comefrom far away for short-term trainingand development opportunities or tomake it our long-term home. But mostof us are from the area, partly becauseof GEs localisation philosophy andpartly just because theres a lot of great talent in this neck of the woods.

    Here are some examples:Rhys Long (25) has beenwith GE Oil & Gas for sixyears. Following 11 GCSEs and 4 A Levels, he completed our higher

    apprenticeship program with DoubleDistinction and is now working toward a BEng. Hes employed as TraineeProduction Engineer, and his otherinterests include health and fitness, cars, and rugby with his son.

    Lisa Winfrey (38), mum ofthree, has worked for GEOil & Gas since 2006 and isnow Subsea EngineeringService Leader in Houston,

    Texas. Originally from Middlesborough,she joined GE Oil & Gas as a mechanicalengineer working on Pipeline Inspectiontechnology development. She has 22years experience in this industry, andcompleted a Bachelor of Engineeringfrom the University of Teesside in 2001whilst in full time employment.

    We are pioneering advancedmanufacturing techniques anddeveloping the concept of theindustrial internet - embeddingsmart technologies in ourequipment to enable remotemonitoring and control, somethingwhich sounded like science fictionjust a few years ago.

    Why is GE Oil & Gas investing in Newcastle?Almost all of the UKs oil and gas production comes fromoffshore, where there is a network of 14,000 km ofpipelines linking 107 oil platforms, 181 gas platforms and alarge number of subsea installations. There are over 380producing fields. The North East of England is located closeto busy oil and gas offshore sectors in the UK and NorwegianNorth Sea, and has a long heritage of high-tech energy andmanufacturing industry.

    FEATURED FESTIVAL EVENTWED 11 SEPT 9.30-12.00 AND 13.00-15.30

    POWERING THE GLOBEFROM WALKER RIVERSIDE Take a tour to discover how subsea pipelines are created.

    Booking Required

  • 11

    The aim is to celebrate the regions traditions of innovation and celebrate inherent strengths, to raise peoples spirits and focusminds on what needs to be done to recharge the faltering effortstowards economic, social andcultural renewal.

    In the 19th century greatentrepreneurs such as George andRobert Stephenson, Charles Parsons,Joseph Swan and William Armstrongcreated the innovations and theproducts that the world wanted to buyfrom the factories of the North East.

    During the second half of the 20thcentury the things that gave rise to asense of pride and enterprise werelost as coalfields, steelworks andmajor engineering workshops

    vanished from the North Eastsindustrial landscape.

    That will never return. Despite somesubstantial improvements over thepast 25 years, particularly to thephysical environment, the North East once again finds itself aperipheral geographical region.

    The world has moved on. Thepremiums for success now lie in theknowledge, skills and ability to adaptwith imagination and commitment to profound change.

    But Great North Festival believes that the potential to regenerate the required actions and resolve is notbeyond this regions capabilities. Itneeds, however, leadership and ideasto kick the process back into life.

    We have four simple overridingobjectives:

    Encouraging confidence in theNorth East;

    Supporting young people in gainingthe education and sustainable skillsthat are ingrowing demand;

    Displaying the North Easts latentcapabilities in generating new andneeded innovations;

    Showcasing some of the techno-logical achievements that could bescaled up and exploited as thefoundation for future success.

    Great North Festival has begun theprocess with a set of initiatives thatwe are striving to realise in thecoming months.

    We are, as already stated, acting asa catalyst for much-needed change.So one of the things we want toencourage is the mounting of a GreatNorth Expo to celebrate past, existingand future innovations in the region.

    There are enormous latentpossibilities waiting to be exploited insectors such as renewable energies,biotechnology, electric vehicles andthrough the ongoing development

    of emerging, sustainabletechnologies in the fields of printableelectronics, nanotechnology and life sciences.

    Creative services, too, in theadvanced areas of virtual reality andanimation are gaining momentum.

    We have begun a series of Great NorthDebates on issues of vital concern tothe North East. Other projects couldinvolve schools, colleges and theregions universities in helping todetermine the regions future.

    We know there is enthusiasm for theGreat North Festival project; peoplehave told us so. But more leadership,more participation and morecommitment will be needed to turn aspiration into achievement.

    Can you contribute? Do youhave ideas, experience andknowledge that could make a difference?Get involved. The adventure begins at

    This was in part a response toNewcastles success in a whole range of cleaner and greener sciences of the future; in ageing and health, sustainability, stem cells andregenerative medicine. The transformative effects that these have on peoples lives are felt farbeyond the boundaries of the city.In ageing and health, scientists atNewcastle University have developed

    a procedure that could prevent mothers passing on devastating genetic conditions to their children. In sustainability, Nissan at Sunderland ismass-producing electric cars that go all over the world and in stem cellsscientists at the International Centre for Life have revolutionised the treatment of patients by growinghealthy stem cells in the laboratory andusing them to restore patients eyesight.

    This is the practice of science that is making a significant contribution to quality of life.

    Science also plays an important part in the economy of the city and region.Thousands of people and their familiesare dependent upon employment in the sector which is growing. The ScienceCentral site in the city centre isexpected to create up to 1,900 jobs inthe next 20 years jobs that localpeople will be able to access. This is amajor plank of the city councils priorityto make Newcastle a working citywhere businesses can start up and grow,creating high quality jobs for futuregenerations.

    In our schools, the teaching andattainment of science is becomingincreasingly important, inspiring a future generation of scientists. More of ourpupils are taking up the STEM subjects science, technology, engineering andmaths. Pass rates in science at GCSE

    and A Levelhave improved forthe last three years and the take-up of science post 16 is also rising. Children in 14 schools are taking part in thePrimary Engineer Project, supported by GE Wellstream of Walker Riverside to design and make a vehicle to beunveiled next year.

    The British Science Festival is one of the largest celebrations of science inEurope. Its a great opportunity toshowcase some of our latest advancesin science and demonstrate to investorsthat when it comes to science we reallydo mean business in Newcastle.

    Newcastle has always been a city of science. From WilliamArmstrongs high-pressure hydraulic machinery andJoseph Swans light bulb to the steam-driven turbines ofCharles Parson, we are proud of our inventors. Theirbreakthroughs drove the Industrial Revolution and mouldedthe social and economic fabric of our nation. But its arecord we are not content to see consigned to the historybooks. Newcastle continues to build on its proud record ofscientific research and development. No surprise then thatthe Government bestowed Science City status uponNewcastle one of only six cities in the country.


    Of immediate concern is the lack of opportunities for youngpeople, with the consequent loss of skills and hope offeredthrough worthwhile employment and careers.

    Great North Festival was created to act as a catalyst to bringtogether those concerned, to act against a growing tide ofdisillusion and despair, and to bring hope of a better future.

    THE GREAT NORTH FESTIVALThe North East is facing immense challenges at a time when theregions resolve to adapt and change appears to be slipping.

  • 12 To book phone 08456 807 207 visit or book in person during the Festival at the Box Office at Newcastle University

    FESTIVALSUPPORTERS We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters.

    The British Science Association is a registered charity: 212479 & SC039236

    For more information about the British Science Association, please visit



    HOW TO BOOKFind more information about some of the events on our website Choose what you want to book then:Book online at www.britishsciencefestival.orgBook by phone on 08456 807 207Book in person during the Festival at theBox Office, which can be found in a marquee outside Northern Stage on theNewcastle University campus.

    VENUESEvents at the British Science Festival takeplace in various venues. All venues are wheelchair accessibleexcept where otherwise indicated. Youcan download a map from our websiteshowing accessible routes to buildings atNewcastle University, and accessinformation for all other venues. You canalso pick up maps from the Box Office orcall the booking line. For anyone requiringfurther information about accessibilityissues on the Newcastle Universitycampus, please contact Dave Watt,Newcastle University Estate SupportService, 0191 222 7171Newcastle Central Station is within a 20 minute walk of many of the venues,and also well connected by Metro tomost Festival venues.

    Some events may be filmed or photographed for the Festival archives and future promotion. If you wish not to befilmed or photographed please alert the Festival Assistants in your event before the event starts.

    All details are correct at the time of going to print. The British Science Festival reserves the right to change events ifnecessary. All changes will be posted on the British Science Festival website and every effort will be made to informpeople already booked in.

    In the event of a cancellation, tickets will be refunded. Should you wish to apply for a refund for tickets you have bought please email by Friday 23 August. No refunds will be made after this time. If you are subsequently unable to attend a free event you have booked, please stating your name and the title of the event you wish to cancel. This will allow us to make your place available to other people.


    This page acknowledges the generous contribution of all our sponsors and supporters at the time of going to print.






    SAT 7 THURS 12 SEPT 09.00 20.00 (20.30 on Thursday)

    Although many of the events duringthe Festival are free, we recommendthat you book to ensure your place.